Protests Spark Up in Pennsylvania Following Officer-Involved Shooting of Knife-Wielding Suspect

A police officer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, fatally shot a knife-wielding suspect with a history of violence over the weekend, sparking protests Monday night that had elements of vandalism and arson.  

The officer was responding to a “reported domestic disturbance involving a person with a knife,” on Sunday afternoon, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.  

While the investigation is ongoing, body-cam footage from the scene suggests that the officer reasonably feared for his safety when 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz came charging out of the residence armed with an edged weapon.  

Yet despite the fact that the video was made public in the immediate aftermath of the incident, perhaps in an effort to help quell racial tensions or counter speculation that the officer used excessive force in defense of himself, protesters were gathering in the streets by 7 p.m. outside the police station in downtown Lancaster, chanting, “No justice, no peace.”

Things took a turn for the worse when demonstrators began smashing police cars, throwing bricks and setting refuse on fire.  Law enforcement would use “chemical munitions” and pepper spray to disperse the crowd.  Eight people were arrested in connection to the rioting.  

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace addressed the public on Monday.

“I need help. We need help,” Sorace said, “I am clear beyond a doubt that we lack the tools, the resources, the expertise and the capacity to do this on our own here in the City of Lancaster.”

Sorace was seeking guidance from leaders across the state not on how to keep violent protesters in check– but on how government agencies can more effectively respond to situations involving deadly threats.  

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“We need an evidence-based protocol for responding,” she said. “What is that protocol?”

“Additionally, how do we create and staff a system that can respond 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and within minutes? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered to create a countywide plan,” she said.

Munoz, who was arrested previously for stabbing at least two people and was awaiting trial on four counts of aggravated battery, suffered from schizophrenia, according to his parents. 

In an interview with WJAC, Munoz’s mother said that she doesn’t believe her son would have hurt the officer and that they had first called Crisis Intervention in an effort to de-escalate the situation.

But the responding agent instructed the couple to call the police.  

“I called the police and I was thinking that they would bring my son to the hospital yesterday, not kill him,” explained Miguelina Pina, Munoz’s mother.

“That’s what we are waiting for,” continued Munoz’s stepfather, Victor Fernandez.

Both believe the system let them down. 

“There is no help here. There is nothing here,” Fernandez said. “I can’t even imagine that this city doesn’t have a psychiatric here. If you get crazy, you die yourself.”

The officer, whose name has not yet been released, has been placed on administrative leave.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • monk September 21, 2020, 9:43 am

    IF YOUR SON WOULDN’T HURT A FLY YOU DID NOT HAVE TO CALL THE POLICE SOME HOW YOUR STORY JUST DON’T ADD UP AH ARE YOU LOOKING TO PROFIT FROM THIS ???

  • Al September 21, 2020, 6:43 am

    Rioters are now called protesters. Dr. King was a protesters. Was going on now is simple….criminal behavior PERIOD. The family and the mayor are out of touch with reality. This is a guy that has a history of violent mental illness and they are questioning the officer’s response? The mayor is a politician they will say anything or believe in anything as long as they stay elected. The family believes that a team of highly trained phycologist or social workers were going to come and save her son. This is a BS idea created by politicians and the media. Giving exactly the same circumstances the social worker, phycologist, mental health worker would have been cut to pieces unless they could run like a gazelle or an Olympic runner.

  • Eric Holder September 18, 2020, 1:43 pm

    Sometimes information is useful. I do not know if the cop had any prior knowledge of the person being schizophrenic. I do not know if the cop had knowledge of the prior stabbing incidents. Unfortunately the cop can only use what tools he has available in his tool kit and brain. Maybe it should be SOP that radio specifically asks callers if they have any direct knowledge of the suspect having mental illness? It seems in some cases critically important information is not relayed properly and not solicited by the cop. I know Police like to only use one tool for every job but having information and options of less than lethal responses and additional personnel when required could save lives so they can make it to court for their prior stabbings or have time to take their medications. Oh yeah here is something I do know; edged weapons are dangerous and scary.

  • MP95 September 18, 2020, 8:54 am

    Agreed, if the the police hadn’t arrived when they did, the situation could have been much worse with multiple injuries or fatalities within the household. It could have easily been a mass murder seen when the police arrived. The suspect armed with a knife obviously posed a threat to his family or his own family wouldn’t have called the police to begin with. The suspect charged after the officer, apparently he hasn’t seen any news footage lately on all the major networks of what happens when you do that. Sadly, the suspect was a threat and he was neutralized by just one bullet. Moral of the story, never bring a knife to a gun fight,

  • Bill Bronaugh September 18, 2020, 7:51 am

    People are so damned dumb.

  • Ransom September 18, 2020, 4:51 am

    “Munoz’s mother said that she doesn’t believe her son would have hurt the officer”. Ya’ mean your son who was awaiting trial for stabbing two other people? Yeah, he was a good boy… …wouldn’t hurt a fly.

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